Over $51,000 Spent For Primary Election With 1 Candidate For Each Party; Election Commissioners Mull Whether To Add Early Voting Sites

Wednesday, August 4, 2021
Left to right are Bedford County Administrator of Elections Summer Leverette, Morgan County Administrator of Elections Tim Sweat, Loudon County Administrator of Elections Susan Harrison, Cocke County Administrator of Elections Josh Blanchard, Shelby County Administrator of Elections Linda Phillips, Hamilton County Administrator of Elections Scott Allen, Wilson County Assistant Administrator of Elections Tammy Smith, Knox County Administrator of Elections Chris Davis, U.S. Congressman Rodney Davis, Anderson County Administrator of Elections Mark Stephens, Secretary of State Tre Hargett, Sumner County Administrator of Elections Lori Atchley, Hardeman County Administrator of Elections Amber Moore, Montgomery County Administrator of Elections Elizabeth Black, Cumberland County Administrator of Elections Jill Davis, Rutherford County Administrator of Elections Alan Farley and Coordinator of Elections Mark Goins.
Left to right are Bedford County Administrator of Elections Summer Leverette, Morgan County Administrator of Elections Tim Sweat, Loudon County Administrator of Elections Susan Harrison, Cocke County Administrator of Elections Josh Blanchard, Shelby County Administrator of Elections Linda Phillips, Hamilton County Administrator of Elections Scott Allen, Wilson County Assistant Administrator of Elections Tammy Smith, Knox County Administrator of Elections Chris Davis, U.S. Congressman Rodney Davis, Anderson County Administrator of Elections Mark Stephens, Secretary of State Tre Hargett, Sumner County Administrator of Elections Lori Atchley, Hardeman County Administrator of Elections Amber Moore, Montgomery County Administrator of Elections Elizabeth Black, Cumberland County Administrator of Elections Jill Davis, Rutherford County Administrator of Elections Alan Farley and Coordinator of Elections Mark Goins.
Election officials said over $51,000 was spent conducting the recent special primary election for House District 29 in which each party had only one candidate.
The general election pitting Democrat DeAngelo Jelks and Republican Greg Vital will be Sept.
14.
The seat was formerly held by Rep. Mike Carter.
Election Administrator Scott Allen said election commissioners need to begin thinking about whether they want to expand early voting for the 2022 elections.
He said the startup cost for an early voting site is $70,000, and it takes $35,000 per site for operations costs.
In order to get ready for the May 2022 primary a decision needs to be made by this October, he said.
Mr. Allen said he was one of a small number of election administrators across the state invited by Secretary of State Tre Hargett to Nashville on Tuesday to meet with Committee on House Administration Ranking Member Rodney Davis (R-Ill.). There was a roundtable discussion "about Tennessee’s safe, fair and secure elections."
Rep. Davis is working on crafting a Faith in Elections project.
He said, “Whether it’s Ohio where I was earlier this week or here in Tennessee, local and state officials are working to make it easy to vote and hard to cheat. Secretary Hargett and local election officials helped ensure a record-number of Tennesseans could cast their vote in last year’s elections. As part of our Faith in Elections Project, we’re seeing exactly how a one-size-fits-all, federal takeover of election administration just will not work.”
Congressman Davis's visit to Tennessee was part of his Faith in Elections Project tour across the country. During the tour, Congressman Davis is meeting with state and local elections officials, legislators and others to learn about their work on federal elections and discuss ideas for state-level reform and the removal of federal impediments. The purpose of the Faith in Elections Project is "to promote voter confidence in our elections systems and outcomes through education, engagement and reform."
Secretary Hargett said, "I was honored to welcome Congressman Davis to Tennessee for this important roundtable discussion. Our office worked with county election administers across the state to conduct a safe, trustworthy election with record turnout in the midst of the pandemic. Our success is evidence that the best way to ensure election integrity is at the state level, not a one-size-fits-all mandate from Washington, D.C.”
During the roundtable, Secretary Hargett, Coordinator of Elections Mark Goins and county election officials discussed Tennessee election procedures, what the federal government could do to support election administration in Tennessee and how proposed federal legislation could negatively impact Tennessee elections.
Thirteen Tennessee county administrators of elections and one assistant administrator attended the roundtable, including Mr. Allen and Mark Stephens from Anderson County, Summer Leverette from Bedford County, Josh Blanchard from Cocke County, Jill Davis from Cumberland County, Amber Moore from Hardeman County, Chris Davis from Knox County, Susan Harrison from Loudon County, Elizabeth Black from Montgomery County, Tim Sweat from Morgan County, Alan Farley from Rutherford County, Linda Phillips from Shelby County, Lori Atchley from Sumner County and Tammy Smith from Wilson County.

Mr. Allen said other election officials at the meeting "were really impressed with the audit process that we use. We have received a lot of praise for that process."

He said in Tennessee that election results are compiled very quickly with a minimum of instances of fraud or error.


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